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  1. #1
    GO, Mordecai! Syncmaster's Avatar
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    Locking up in NYC vs. Boston

    Just moved to NYC for a few months while I'm working here, and am a bit nervous about locking up my bike on the street while I'm inside away from it for 4 hours at a time. Not sure how much more careful I need to be here compared to Boston where I live during the year. In the past my locking method was to have a mini u-lock on the frame with an on-guard cable securing the front and back wheel, then locking that to the ulock. I'll be locking up in an area that's highly populated, near lots of shops and businesses.

    Am I just paranoid? Or should I beef up protection....? And I realize that I can never be completely safe. Any determined thief will be able to get away with my baby... But I'm just trying to figure out my best bet for now.

    thanks for any suggestions.
    I like bikes.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    its never a bad thing to be paranoid about how well your bike is locked. I get paranoid about my bike even when i lock it well and i live in a low bike theft town. granted i've never locked my bike in NY(haven't even been there since i was 10) but from what i hear you'll want it as secure as possible.

  3. #3
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    NYC is way more mean spirited than boston when it comes to bike theft. one of my teachers had the seat from his bike stolen, and it was just a ****ty khs flite seat too.

  4. #4
    Junior Member KingsCountyFC's Avatar
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    I think getting your bike stolen in NYC comes down to how where and how you like up your bike.
    I live in a decent part of brooklyn, and I'd lock my bike up on the street for up to 15 minutes with just a U-lock. Any longer than that and i'd cable lock my seat too.
    It just depends what street, and how much foot traffic goes through.
    Get a really good lock and you'd be fine leave it locked on the street a decent amount of time.
    Just don't do this at night, on a side street....esp overnight... consider it gone.
    I wouldn't sweat it too much. Just make sure you use your head.
    And if you have a nice saddle, use a cable lock. Not too many thieves will go through the trouble of trying to break that lock to steal a seat, when there are many more bikes unguarded in that respect.

  5. #5
    GO, Mordecai! Syncmaster's Avatar
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    Thanks a lot guys. Really appreciate the advice.
    I like bikes.

  6. #6
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    I lived in Boston from 97 to 02 and never really thought about bike security. You'd see tons of messengers frame locking and leaning their bikes against the wall of a building, you never really saw seats locked on with an old chain and old tube. Hell, I once managed to lock only the front wheel and not the frame. It was a quick release wheel and everything was still there six hours later.

    Now that I live in NYC, I lock everything. When I'm out, I use an thin krypto cable through the seatpost rails locked on with this tiny U lock I got at Continuum Cyles (Avenue B between 12 and 13th Streets - check it out). That lock also locks my rear wheel to the seat stay. I then used the extended Krypto Evo (all I ever used in Boston) lock through the front wheel, frame, and post. At work, while locked up in front of a big window, I use an NYC chain to lock through rear wheel and frame to the bike rack and hook the actual lock through the seat rail so I get that in there too. Since I have the other locks with me, I just use them as I normally do. I just leave the chain locked to the bike rack.

    I'm kinda serious about bike security.

  7. #7
    Large Member Geordi Laforge's Avatar
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    I'd say your bike is relatively easy to steal since you're using the long u-lock up front. leverage attack with a certain power tool would open that lock up in 30 seconds -- easy to fit in the lock, fast to use. use a mini evo instead (or fahgettiboudit mini for extra toughness).

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geordi Laforge View Post
    I'd say your bike is relatively easy to steal since you're using the long u-lock up front. leverage attack with a certain power tool would open that lock up in 30 seconds -- easy to fit in the lock, fast to use. use a mini evo instead (or fahgettiboudit mini for extra toughness).
    The extended Evo lock has enough space for a front wheel, frame, and street sign/bike rack/parking meter. There isn't enough space to use a leverage attack against it. There is probably less space than when a mini used around just the seattube, top tube, or down tube. I know a few people in NYC who have had their frames damaged due to thiefs attempting to leverage against the frame to break a mini Evo.

  9. #9
    Senior Member jaggd's Avatar
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    I have 2 friends who just lost their bikes to thieves who hacked through their frames. I believe they were riding track bikes with expensive components. Bottom line... locking up outside for more than a few minutes is risky, BUT the quality of your bike (relative to those surrounding it) plays a large part in the risk factor.

    I've never had anything stolen, but I think I've had a good combination of caution and luck. Another friend has had his rear wheel stolen despite locking skewers, and his saddle stolen in the middle of the day in midtown.

    If you care deeply about your bike and/or anything attached to it, keep it with you. As others have said, NEVER lock up overnight. Cable locks are completely useless. I recommend using both a chain lock and a u-lock, since they require different types of attacks in order to be defeated.

  10. #10
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    Use a heavy chain through the wheels and frame locked with a quality shrouded padlock. Also use a heavy duty U lock through the frame.
    Two locks to cut. Two different tools needed (barring an angle grinder).

    Bring it inside with you if at all possible.
    Buy a cheap commuter so that if it does get stolen, you won't have to cry too much.

    2 cents from a locksmith.
    Ride.
    Enjoy.
    Repeat.

  11. #11
    50000 Guatts of power 127.0.0.1's Avatar
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    battery powered angle grinder with diamond disk will bust ANY lock in a minute

    just saying...if someone wants yer bike they will own it
    I like fat bikes
    and I cannot lie.

  12. #12
    Back in the Saddle Again
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    Buy a crappy bike and park it next to the nicest bike you can find.

    I drive a 1990 Golf and even though it's in great shape and I never lock my doors, no one screws with it.
    1990 Schwinn Worldsport: Project Slow n' Ugly.
    2003 Kona Kikapu: The Battle Wagon
    - "Job security is being able to walk around the office in spandex without fear of repercussions"

  13. #13
    Large Member Geordi Laforge's Avatar
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    ...you also live in Columbia, Maryland.

    If you leave your car unlocked in my hood -- even if it's a junker -- expect everything to be stripped or stolen by sunrise.

  14. #14
    imhotcuzimfly Golden3ye's Avatar
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    geordi you are so hood, when is the mix tape coming out
    Is it gay that I have a cat

  15. #15
    Senior Member beeftech's Avatar
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    I'd get a second u lock, and always lock both wheels. I do the sheldon lock methode with my rear wheel and another u lock for the front wheel to frame. A chain lock + u lock is a good alternative.
    Use your cable to secure you seatpost for those long times away from your bike.
    People have been CUTTING through FRAMES to steal parts lately.

    Do not lock in shady areas. Union Square = Bermuda Triangle, lock far away!

  16. #16
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    It's also important to be mindful of what you're locking to. I've come across a lot of loose bike racks and DOT signs, so now I always give whatever I'm locking to a good shake to make sure it feels as solid as it looks.

    And never lock to the easily removed horizontal struts of sidewalk bridges!
    Contrail: a tool for developing bicycle communities! http://www.bikecontrail.com/

  17. #17
    imhotcuzimfly Golden3ye's Avatar
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    I have searched sheldon's site exhaustively for his locking technique, but cant find it. anyone have a link
    Is it gay that I have a cat

  18. #18
    Senior Member steveymcdubs's Avatar
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    Lock your rear tire to something through the triangle in the back part of the frame.

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/lock-strategy.html

  19. #19
    Banned. teiaperigosa's Avatar
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    leave it unlocked...lean it against the wall...said theif wil lthink that the owner is nearby watching his bike...you'll come back to it untouched...

    at least that's what happened when I forgot to lock it

  20. #20
    monster
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    ^^^ I once did that in Midtown Manhattan. Thought I locked up, went to work, came back 8 hours later my bike was still there. The bike god's were looking out for me that day.

  21. #21
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    My buddy goes to Cooper Union, he locked up outside in broad daylight somewhere outside the engineering building with a u-lock on the front wheel & frame. Someone stole the back wheel in the middle of the day!

    I had my back wheel stolen in Alphabet City... but I foolishly left the back wheel unlocked over night.. now I have a 4' chain and kryptonite lock.

  22. #22
    Senior Member amor fati's Avatar
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    I recently visited New York city for the first time. I loved it, but it did strike me as ridiculous the lengths one would have to go to keep their bike safe outdoors. I mean, those kryptonite chain locks are really heavy to be carrying around everywhere you go. At least in terms of bike ownership that particular city leaves a lot to be desired in the way of common human decency. If I lived there I would have to find a way to bring my bike into my workplace with me.

  23. #23
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    Most people in NYC I see using chains. I debated getting a one of the 3 or 5 foot chains for my new bike, and ended up deciding against it because I was going to be angry every time I road the bike wearing the heavy chain and ruin the bike experience for me.

    I decided on a Kryptonite Evolution Mini. It's under two pounds, and its easy to carry wedge between my belt, or attached to the bike, and its smaller than the other locks so supposedly that makes it harder to use leverage attacks against it. I lock the back tire and the rear part of the frame to a bike rack if I can. I will eventually get a cable lock to try and lock the seat and the front tire too. A lot of cables just come with loops to lock it to the Ulock, but if they break the ulock, then the cable is useless. Consider getting one of the ****ty cable locks with the actual lock on the cable so if they break the ulock then they also have to break the cable. I would assume having to use two tools or take extra time to break a second lock would make a thief pick a different target. All of this is till easier to carry than one of those big ass chains.

    I don't leave the bike out over night and so far I don't let the bike get out of my sight when I lock it up. If I go have lunch I lock it where I can see it while I eat. I would avoid taking it to a movie for example where I am unable to keep track of it.

    Personally the big chains are just too much trouble to me. I would hate to lose my bike but I don't want to hate it every time I ride with a massive chain.

    Also if you get a mini U lock like I did I might recommend the OnGuard Mini instead because I think it's a little lighter than the Evo Mini even and supposedly the actual locking parts are better and it cost less.

    On second thought, if wherever you are going to lock up your bike out of your sight is not going to change location like it is where you work consider the big ass chain lock and just leave the chain there all the time so you do not have to carry it. That would work pretty well. Make sure you still have a cable to lock seat and front tire.
    Last edited by akkando; 06-07-09 at 11:34 AM.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaggd View Post
    I have 2 friends who just lost their bikes to thieves who hacked through their frames. I believe they were riding track bikes with expensive components.
    How does one learn that this was the fate of their bike? Does a cut up frame surface days later, stripped of its components?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddac View Post
    Ummm.....if the bike rack is unharmed & if the lock is still attached to the bike rack, one would assume they cut the bike in half.
    Makes sense.

    I've seen those dangling u-locks around and wondered what resulted in that.

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